Word Formation : in English language

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      In the process of forming new words foreign borrowing words are important in English language. But there are various other processes of word-making in English.

In the process of forming new words foreign borrowing words are important in English language. But there are various other processes of word-making in English.
Word formation

      (1) Coinage : The English have a special knack for coining new words from native sources; e. g. (a) Air-plane, Movie, Talkie, (b) mark again the names given to the new Flora and Fauna, which English migrants in Australasia met for the first time and had names to be found for - Friar-bird, honey-eater, Frogs-mouth, long-fin (a kind of fish etc.) Do not these names amply testify to the Englishman's talent for inventing picturesque and telling designations? (c) Hardly less significant are the names which are being daily coined by tradespeople to designate their articles - e.g., kodak, wincarnis, etc. The object here is neither correctness nor meaning but advertising purposes. Hence either an amusing collocation of arbitrary letters, the sound of which makes it memorable (kodak) or a blend of different words (wine+caro) likely to suggest the property or efficiency of the article; or a name with a vague, remote resemblance to some other well-known words which may assist the buyer to remember it ( vapocresolene ); or ordinary words disguised by fancy spellings (uneeda cigar-you need a cigar). (d) Finally, one may recall in this connection the coinages of the First World War-u-boat, camouflage, umpteen - a new numerical to mean 'a considerable number'.

      (2) Derivation : Derivation means the use of suffixes and prefixes which is a potent source of enrichment of language. Some formative elements are discarded in favour of others - e.g, (a) Fern, suffix-en abandoned because of difficulty of application due to sound changes obscuring connexions between related words. As for example, pignen, fyxen etc. Hence French' - ess is extensively used.
(b) A much more brilliant destiny is reserved for old English ending -ice or -ish which were originally intended for nouns indicating nations, then for any noun, then even adjectives, e.g English from Angle, Irish, Danish. Then gradually came childish, girlish, foolish etc.
(c) Another case in point is the verbal suffix-er. The ending er is used for forming substantives to denote agents. Originally the function of this ending was to make nouns not from verbs but from other nouns-as for example, OE bocere from boe. This can be illustrated from modern uses like Londoner, fisher, first-nighter, etc. But now new words are made in er from any verb e.g., snorer, sitter, etc. A variant of -er is -eer (vamphleteer, profiteer). Another variant is e-ster (youngster, Baxter, dempster, a judge)

Special feminines are formed in - stress: seanstress, songstress. Other much used suffixes are - ness, -dom, -ship, -ly, -less, -ful, and -ed (goodness, Christendont, oxonership, lordly, powerless, porwerful, blue'eyedj. Prefixes of wide application are miss; un-, lee-. By means of these formatives, the English vocabulary has been and is being constantly enriched with thousands and thousands of useful new words. The adoption of foreign affixes has been made possible by the fact that many Latin and French primitive words found their way into English with their derivatives formed with French or Latin suffines. The suffix-ation has provided the scope of forming nouns from verb - starvation, flirtation. There are other French suffixes which have been thoroughly naturalized in English. Thus we make nouns in-ment: endearment, enlightenment; in-ess: goddess profetess; in-age: shortage leakage etc. Adjectives are formed by adding French suffixes like - ous, -able, -al, -ose: dangerous, variable, national, legal, jocose. Verbs are formed by the addition ot-fry, -ize, -ate, -ish as for example simplify, nationalize, captivate, publish etc.

The Latin suffixes are more important than the French suffixes. Adjectives sensational, emotional, confidential, nouns: betrayal, betrothal. The Latin prefix re-is very extensively used-renew, return etc. The Latin prefixes dis-; multi, Pro-ante post-, extra-, super- are also used. As for examples, distrust, multipurpose, Pro-king; antedate, Postpone, extraordinary, superfine etc.

      (3) Making nouns and verbs exactly alike - A peculiarly English way of forming verbs from nouns and vice-versa. Nouns and verbs different in O.E. gradually came to be identical in form (Blossont, care, end, drink, etc.). Thus it is naturally felt that in every case when the need of a verb arose, it might be formed from the substantive with no change i.e., without the use of any suffix.Thus every part of the body gave rise to a homonym verb-lip, ear, thumb, limb, body.

This process is very useful for nonce words. Nonce words are the words of the moment and for the moment. They are coined to meet a particular purpose. They are a sort of make-shift coinage. I will Golden Bull you, you rascal; But me no buts; I shall phebe you " (As You Like It). A verb used unchanged as a noun is a typical English process. It is the disappearance of the final-e which rendered it possible (Glance, cut, gaze, fetch). The tenth century is very fertile in these, nouns. Some grammarians falsely attribute this phenomenon to the general exuberance of the renaissance which made people more free with their language than they have since been. That the view is wrong is proved by the fact that there are more formations of this kind than Shakespeare knew. He had only the substantive a visitation, but now we say a visit; nor did he know kick, worries and moves.

Substantives formed from verbs unchanged even when there is an existing noun to express the same idea start a competition with nouns formed by-ing: e.g. Read (n) and Reading. In some cases there is a slight shade of difference in meaning: build (n) and building. So also make (n) and making. In imitation of the old similarity between a verb and a noun, some modern words have been formed on the old model. Thus we get certain interesting doubles (e.g bath and bathe), In certain cases a distinction between verb and noun is made by the alternation of ch and k: speech speak.

Some nouns and verbs have the same consonants but different vowels due to gradation or mutation - e.g, Sit and seat; knot and knit; Sell and sale etc. Often the position of the stress distinguishes nouns from verbs - e.g, Fo' recast (n), Fore-cas't (v).

There is often a curious oscillation between noun and verb - smoke, gossip, etc. The levelling of these forms presents however no danger of ambiguity. It is a real advantage.

      (4) Composition : is the name given to the process in which two words are joined to produce a new word. The words so formed are known as compound words. Compounds are either fixed or free. Fixed type is an earlier one e g, Daisy=dayesteye Woman=wif+man. Free type is a later one e.g., Headmaster, Railway, collegehall, etc. Free compounds are of various types. In most cases, the first part determines the second i.e., the first indicates the species, the second the genus (song-bird). A garden floroer is a kind of flower; but a florwergarden is a kind of garden. In some cases the two words are co-ordinate (man-servant, Deaf-mute etc). Another special type of compounds is exemplified in pick-pocket-one who picks pockets. This type (i.e., verbtobject) originated in Romantic language but very fertile in English, often functioning like an adjective (cutpurse, do-nothing, stop gap, etc). Other examples of this type of compounds are apple-tree, houseboat, snuff-box, rubber-shoe. Sometimes we cease to think of them as compounds at all. This phenomenon is known as Obscuration of compounds - as for example, hus (house) + bondage> husband; Godspel >gospel.

There are compounds of adjective and noun-black bird, hot-bed, greenroom etc. of adverb and noun-downfall, outhouse, outfield; of adjective and adjective-dark-blue; purple-red; of adverb and adjective as ever-fresh; down-hearted; of noun or adjective and verb, as withdraw, white-zvash etc. There are common compounds of adverb and verb like overtime, outlive, undertake, underwrite etc. The first part receives the stress, while in free compounds, the stress is more evenly distributed so as to suggest that the different constituents are about equally important. The first part of a free compound often enjoys the full status of an adjective (Boston young Lady). Some of them have become full-fledged adjectives-bridal, commonplace, dainty, etc.

There are certain compounds which are "improper" or "spurious". These are formed with words in regular syntactical relation and are regarded as single words, e.g., father-in-law, mother-in-law. Tradesman, swordsman which are known as Self-Explaining compounds along belong to this type of "improper" compounds.

      (5) Back formation : This is a process by which words are formed by substracting something from an existing word. These back formations as Murray very conveniently terms them, owe their origin to one part of a word being mistaken for some derivative suffix. The adverbs sideling, darkling were originally formed by means or the adverbial ending - ling. But in such phrases as he walks sideling, he lies groveling they looked like participles in -ing and the consequence was that the new verbs to sidle to grovel, to darkle were derived from them by the substraction of -ing. So we find that back-formations are composed of two analyses. Originally the word darkling was formed of dark+ling. But it was wrongly analysed later as darkling. The ending - y is often substracted; from greedy is, thus formed the oun greed and horn, jeopardy the verb jeopard.

Several verbs originate from nouns in -er (-ar, -or ) which were not originally agent - nouns. Butcher is the French boucher derived from bouc 'a buck, goat' with no corresponding verb, but in English it has given rise to a rare verb, to butch. Similarly, harbinger, beggar, hatoker, pedlar, etc, call into existence verbs like herbinge, beg, hazwk pedale. Verbs like house-keep, back-bite, type-write, thoughtread are cases of back formations. Hen-peck, sun-biurn are also back formations from the participles henpecked and sunburnt

      (6) Monosyllabism: This is one of the most characteristic features of modern English. This has given it a condensed vigour. As for example, Cabriolet has been reduced to cab and Telephone to phone.

(a) Larger words have been shortened by a regular phonetic development: eight-OE. Eahta; dear-deore; lord-hlaford: fowl=fugol; not=naught ( OE. nawiht); bike=bicycle etc.

(b) Popular clippings of long foreign words of which the middle (as in teck from detective) or the end (as in bus from omnibus) but more often the beginning subsists. Some of these stump-words have never passed beyond slang as in sov in sovereign, pub in publichouse, jap in Japanese. Here is a process of met-analysis. Detective is wrongly analysed as de-teck-tive.

A last group of English monosyllables comprises those whose etymology is indeterminate. They are ex-hihilo creations: (a) onomatopoeic formations whose origin can be psychologically explained - as for example - lap, big, etc. (b) words which now belong to the indispensable speech material: bad, lad, lass, fit (c) playful formations due to the playful inventions of the child and the linguistic playfulness of the adult - fun, fuss, stunt, etc.

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